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  1. #1
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Default The Anorexic Brain

    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feat...Anorexic_Brain

    If people stereotype obesity as lack of control (though not always true,) Anorexia is the stereotype of TOO MUCH control (to the detriment of the person.)

    I'm still making my mind of the story. But in Anorexics, stimuli to food is registered differently compared to healthy and obese people. Sugar is very noticeable to anorexics. While for the obese, stimuli to sugar isn't as noticeable (possibly the reason why more is wanted.) Chocolate causes a big spike in anorexics, moderate for healthy, and small spikes in the obese.

    When we think of a mouth savoring food that causes a rise in dopamine, it tends to cause those of healthy and obese populations happy. In anorexic people, dopamine actually causes anxiety. Amphetamine was given to test this. Obese and healthy populations felt great when on it while anorexics just didn't feel right (this is why you don't give a person with an anxiety disorder adhd medications.)

    Hunger signals were also more apparent in the healthy and obese populations than it was in anorexic people. Anorexics have a very great perceived stimuli than actual stimuli, which is why something like a very finely made steak with all the garnishes left in front of an anorexic mind might cause that person to feel full (before he/she eats) but increases the hunger sensation in both normal and obese people.

    Fascinating. They haven't found a gene that causes this response, or if there was a gene that causes this type of response.

  2. #2
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    I saw a documentary about anorexia & some points I took away from it were

    - Many anorexics have more "pleasant" levels of serotonin (I believe it was serotonin mentioned in the documentary, not dopamine) when they have not eaten & are even hungry, but when they eat it spikes serotonin too high which makes them anxious. This makes them not want to eat, associating it with anxiousness and associating not eating with being calm. This is opposite of normal people who get a serotonin boost to a pleasant level when they eat, which makes eating rewarding.

    So the anxiousness over eating with anorexics has way less to do with fear of getting fat like many people think.
    One of the things rehabs tend to do for anorexics is make the eating process something more pleasant/rewarding & they do this by creating processes of shopping for food & preparing it that might be soothing for the person so as to associate eating with something positive.

    - It's similar to OCD & often is diagnosed along with OCD.

    - If the mother is anorexic, then a woman is more likely to be anorexic also. Whether this is nature or nurture was not mentioned (or I don't remember).
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  3. #3
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    I saw a documentary about anorexia & some points I took away from it were

    - Many anorexics have more "pleasant" levels of serotonin (I believe it was serotonin mentioned in the documentary, not dopamine) when they have not eaten & are even hungry, but when they eat it spikes serotonin too high which makes them anxious. This makes them not want to eat, associating it with anxiousness and associating not eating with being calm. This is opposite of normal people who get a serotonin boost to a pleasant level when they eat, which makes eating rewarding.

    So the anxiousness over eating with anorexics has way less to do with fear of getting fat like many people think.
    One of the things rehabs tend to do for anorexics is make the eating process something more pleasant/rewarding & they do this by creating processes of shopping for food & preparing it that might be soothing for the person so as to associate eating with something positive.

    - It's similar to OCD & often is diagnosed along with OCD.

    - If the mother is anorexic, then a woman is more likely to be anorexic also. Whether this is nature or nurture was not mentioned (or I don't remember).
    Care to share the documentary if you can find it?

    And yes, there is a likelier chance that if the mother is anorexic, that the child may also have a higher chance of anorexia. They haven't found the gene in question yet that causes this (if there is one.)

    http://ed-bites.blogspot.com/2010/01...-anorexia.html

    I'm reading about Serotonin and Anorexia, it does seem to have EXTENSIVE research. I'd assume that Anorexia also affects Norepinephrine and Dopamine levels (probably spikes just like Serotonin.) What I have seem to have gotten when reading is that many of what usually causes a modest increase of serotonin and dopamine in healthy individuals, it spikes in Anorexics, and doesn't increase much at all in the obese(and bulimic it seems even though bulimics are often categorized with anorexics.) I think it is because the brain has adapted to the decreasing amount of food. The brain adapts by using these neurotransmitters more efficiently. So when extra serotonin or dopamine is released into the system, it is like giving a kid who is bloated even more food (not a pleasant feeling.)

    In its mental characteristics, it does seem a lot like OCD. There is a sense that one wants to gain weight, but for some reason am unable to. Just the look of food can cause one to feel full.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/babba...ting-disorders

    This conversation does make me think of the video Lexicon mentioned in the body image thread about how many of the naturally "thin" people had a harder trying to gain weight than most people.

  4. #4
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    ^I saw it many years ago & have no idea what it was called. It was on a cable network TV station I think.... likely some health channel.

    As a naturally thin person, I have a harder time gaining weight (although I don't try to...but I don't have to try not to either). However, my natural habits result in me eating less food & calories than most people, and I tend to go for healthier stuff just by preference. I also have a strong aversion to that "over full" eating & it doesn't take a lot of food for me to be satisfied; I have a small appetite. However, unlike anorexics I don't get anxious from eating (or over-eating) and certainly don't feel full just by looking at food. Like most people, I enjoy eating & my hunger can be stimulated by food visuals. The aversion to over-fullness & over-eating is something I don't hear a lot of people say though. I'm convinced this is a part of my "natural thinness" & tendency to not gain weight with age. This aversion helps me vaguely understand why someone would appear to irrationally choose to not eat when they are starving. It's like, "Okay, it's physically painful, not just an emotional thing."

    I've known 2 anorexics somewhat well & the permanent damage they've done to their bodies is scary, and even when recovered they struggle with tendencies forever. It has made me wonder if the chemical aspects are results of it (altered brain) or the cause of it. A little bit of a chicken & egg thing. The mother being anorexic could lead to learned behaviors also, especially as the anorexics I knew had moms with apparent disorders who pushed their daughters towards thinness...
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

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  5. #5
    Entertaining Cracker five sounds's Avatar
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    I had anorexia for a while. I didn't feel averted to sugar really. I ate a lot of simple carbs like pretzel sticks and crackers, and ate a lot of ice cream. I developed it because of stress, but being raised by my ISFJ mom and ENFJ dad with ISJ sisters, I grew up feeling irresponsible, sloppy, and disorganized. I feared these qualities in myself, but reveled in the time when I knew none of that really mattered.

    When grad school, a shaky start with my relationship to my husband, and my career started, I became hyper-focused on not being my irresponsible, sloppy, disorganized self. My mom is very body and health conscious, and I had always been at an average and healthy weight, but my quest to do well at being an adult despite all of my natural tendencies led to me obsessively counting and restricting my calories. Maybe I thought the best way to be a woman was to be like her? I don't know.

    I can definitely say that it alters your mental processes completely. I don't know how to think about food normally anymore, even though I've been recovering for a few years now. Food definitely made me anxious with anorexia, but only the prospect of having to eat it really. Especially knowing that people would be watching me and probably noticing that I was eating weirdly. I worked at a restaurant at the time, and never felt tempted by the food. I really just took a completely mathematical view toward food in general. It was all numbers to me. After a while, though, I realized I was getting too thin and people had been voicing concern for a while. That's when I started the worst part: trying to eat normally again. I was in therapy, and am trying to hash it out on my own currently. I definitely think that my brain was changed by anorexia. Now I'm just trying to change it again.
    Last edited by five sounds; 07-30-2013 at 06:21 PM.
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